T. H. White, fully Terence Hanbury White

T. H.
White, fully Terence Hanbury White
1906
1964

English Author best known for Arthurian novels including "The Once and Future King"

Author Quotes

They kneeled between the frescoed walls, where some important-looking saints with blue haloes were standing on tiptoe to avoid foreshortening…

You could not give up a human heart as you could give up drinking. The drink was yours, and you could give it up: but your lover’s soul was not your own: it was not at your disposal; you had a duty towards it.

I knelt down in the water of Mortoise, Jenny, where he had knocked me—and I thanked God for the adventure.

It is a pity that there are no big creatures to prey on humanity. If there were enough dragons and rocs, perhaps mankind would turn its might against them. Unfortunately man is preyed upon by microbes, which are too small to be appreciated.

Life is such unutterable hell, solely because it is sometimes beautiful. If we could only be miserable all the time, if there could be no such things as love or beauty or faith or hope, if I could be absolutely certain that my love would never be returned, how much more simple life would be. One could plod through the Siberian salt mines of existence without being bothered about happiness. Unfortunately happiness is there. There is always the chance (about eight hundred and fifty to one) that another heart will come to mine. I can't help hoping and keeping faith and loving beauty. Quite frequently I am not so miserable as it would be wise to be.

People will do the basest things on account of their so-called honor.

The plain of Bedegraine was a forest of pavilions. They looked like old-fashioned bathing tents, and were every color of the rainbow. ... There were heraldic devices worked or stamped on the sides ... Then there were pennons floating from the tops of the tents, and sheaves of spears leaning against them. The more sporting barons had shields or huge copper basins outside their front doors, and all you had to do was to give a thump on one of these with the butt-end of your spear, for the baron to come out like an angry bee and have a fight with you, almost before the resounding boom had died away. Sir Dinadain, who was a cheerful man, had hung a chamber-pot outside his.

They made me see that the world was beautiful if you were beautiful, and that you couldn't get unless you gave. And you had to give without wanting to get.

You fight all the time, and conquer countries and win battles, and then you say that fighting is a bad thing.

But, my poor Lance, to have given up your glory and not to get anything back! When you were a sinful man you were always victorious, so why should you always be beaten when you were heavenly? And why are you always hurt by the things you love? What did you do?

He considered it ridiculous to suppose that he was not wicked, but he was grateful for their love.

Did you know that in these dark ages which were visible from Guenever’s window, there was so much decency in the world that the Catholic Church could impose a peace to all their fighting—which it called The Truce of God—and which lasted from Wednesday to Monday, as well as during the whole of Advent and Lent? Do you think that they, with their Battles, Famine, Black Death and Serfdom, were less enlightened than we are, with our Wars, Blockade, Influenza and Conscription? Even if they were foolish enough to believe that the earth was the centre of the universe, do we not ourselves believe that man is the fine flower of creation? If it takes a million years for a fish to become a reptile, has Man, in our few hundred, altered out of recognition?

He did not himself believe in the supernatural, but the thing happened, and he proposed to tell it as simply as possible. It was stupid of him to say that it shook his faith in mundane affairs, for it was just as mundane as anything else. Indeed the really frightening part about it was the horribly tangible atmosphere in which it took place. None of the outlines wavered in the least. The creature would have been less remarkable if it had been less natural. It seemed to overcome the usual laws without being immune to them. (The Troll)

Do you know, I shall be talking about God a great deal, and this is a word which offends unholy people just as much as words like ‘damn’ and so on offend the holy ones.

He did not like the grown-ups who talked down to him, but the ones who went on talking in their usual way, leaving him to leap along in their wake, jumping at meanings, guessing, clutching at known words, and chuckling at complicated jokes as they suddenly dawned. He had the glee of the porpoise then, pouring and leaping through strange seas.

A chaos of mind and body - a time for weeping at sunsets and at the glamour of moonlight - a confusion and profusion of beliefs and hopes, in God, in Truth, in Love, and in Eternity - an ability to be transported by the beauty of physical objects - a heart to ache or swell- a joy so joyful and a sorrow so sorrowful that oceans could lie between them...

Dogs, like very small children, are quite mad.

He did not look back as he rode away from Bliant Castle—and Elaine, standing on the barbican tower, did not wave. She watched him going with a still-struck concentration, like somebody who, shipwrecked, gets as much fresh water into the little boat as possible. She had a few seconds left, to make her store of Lancelot that must last her through the years.

A king can only work with his best tools.

Don’t ever let anybody teach you to think, Lance: it is the curse of the world.

He did not think it was wrong for strength to have its way, but only that it was intensely wrong for anything to succeed against his own clan. He was neither clever nor sensitive, but he was loyal—stubbornly sometimes, and even annoyingly and stupidly so in later life. For him it was then as it was always to be: Up Orkney, Right or Wrong.

A lot of brainless unicorns swaggering about and calling themselves educated just because they can push each other off a horse with a bit of a stick! It makes me tired.

Education is experience, and the essence of experience is self-reliance.

He saw her as the passionate spirit of innocent youth, now beleaguered by the trick which is played on youth - the trick of treachery in the body, which turns flesh into green bones. Her stupid finery was not vulgar to him, but touching. The girl was still there, still appealing from behind the breaking barricade of rouge. She had made the brave protest: I will not be vanquished. Under the clumsy coquetry, the undignified clothes, there was the human cry for help. The young eyes were puzzled, saying: It is I, inside here - what have they done to me? I will not submit. Some part of her spirit knew that the powder was making a guy of her, and hated it, and tried to hold her lover with the eyes alone. They said: Don't look at all this. Look at me. I am still here, in the eyes. Look at me, here in the prison, and help me out. Another part said: I am not old, it is illusion. I am beautifully made-up. See, I will perform the movements of youth. I will defy the enormous army of age.

All endeavors which are directed to a purely worldly end...contain within themselves the germs of their own corruption.

Author Picture
First Name
T. H.
Last Name
White, fully Terence Hanbury White
Birth Date
1906
Death Date
1964
Bio

English Author best known for Arthurian novels including "The Once and Future King"